Most married couples live together forever. However, there can be circumstances in which a long distance relationship may be necessary. Perhaps one of you has to move away for several months for work? Perhaps one of you is serving jail time? Or perhaps one of you has to look after a sick or elderly relative, while the other stays at home with the kids?
An LDR (long distance relationship) is something that you should carefully discuss before entering. Many marriages can still thrive long distance, however it depends very much on your circumstances. Below are some questions that will determine whether an LDR can work.
How long will you be apart?
Many couples survive long distance marriages, providing that the time apart is only temporary. If you’re going to be constantly moving away for long periods due to work, you need to decide whether the job is worth the strain on your marriage. You may be able to regularly meet up with each other, but ideally you should still be able to enjoy a few months throughout the year of living together (this isn’t possible with long jail sentences, which can often be very difficult for either spouse). In some cases, it may be possible for a spouse to eventually join you in your new location – of course, you’ll need to look into a spouse visa application if they’re joining your abroad and you’ll need to make sure that they are fully on board with the move (if you have kids, they’ll need to be on board too). In all cases, you should be looking to minimize time apart.
How much trust do you both have?
It’s possible that you may be going through a stage in your relationship in which there are trust issues. Entering an LDR at this current time may not be the best decision as there could be a lot of paranoia in regards to your partner potentially cheating or doing other shady things while you’re not around. It could be important to try and rebuild this trust before trying a long distance relationship, otherwise your marriage may not survive the time apart and instead you may find yourself needing a family solicitor to help you navigate your way through a divorce and potential custody battle.
How dependent on each other are you?
Some partners are very dependent on their spouse. The two of you may need physical closeness in order to feel loved and happy – without it you may get lonely and not know how to fill the time. In other cases, one spouse may take care of all the financial matters or all of the housework and the other partner may not feel they are able to take over. LDRs aren’t recommended in these situations – they’re better suited to partners that enjoy living independently and are able to handle matters alone.
Making a long distance marriage work
There are a few key takeaways to consider if you want to make a long distance marriage work:
- Make sure that you are regularly staying in touch either by phone or video call (and find ways of spicing up these interactions so that you’re not talking about the same things). When it comes to long-term LDRs, make sure that you are able to frequently arrange physical meetups or that you are able to still spend a few months of the year living together.
- Solve any trust issues you may have first. If your partner has hidden things from you before such as infidelity, debts or substance abuse, you should consider whether you can truly trust them when you are apart. It could be worth looking into marriage counselling.
- Make sure that you can both live independently. If your partner doesn’t know how to pay the bills or cook meals, instruct them how to do this beforehand. Consider also spending small amounts of time away before taking a long break away from each other to test how you both cope.
You also need to remember that marriage changes with a baby so although a long distance marriage may work now it might not once you have children.